Once again first reading of the rezoning ordinance was deferred.
The same scenario played out as before – opponents of the rezoning showed up in force dressed in their now famous red shirts. Once again council member Tyler Servant blinked and asked for another deferral.
It appears there is no desire on Servant’s part to vote against the rezoning or else it would already been voted down. Council members will generally follow the will of the member in whose district the rezoning is located.
Evidently the tactic is to attempt to wait out the ‘red shirts’ until their opposition wanes. However, that may not be the end result here.
There is a determined opposition and the current owner, Founders Group International, apparently needs the property to be rezoned to clinch its sale. It is not believed that the property can be profitably developed with the residential zoning it has now.
By Paul Gable
First reading of an ordinance for a proposed rezoning of Indian Wells Golf Club is again on the Horry County Council agenda for tonight.
This is the fourth time the issue has been before council for first reading. It was initially defeated late last year. After some tinkering with the proposal, removing the commercial areas and adding more townhomes in an attempt to appease adjacent property owners, the issue has been deferred twice.
There is considerable opposition from owners in three sub-divisions, who thought they were buying golf course view property over the past 20 years only to discover this is not necessarily the case in Horry County.
All but a few of the golf courses in Horry County have underlying zoning that allows for development of the golf course into residences of some type.
Many of properties in the golf course communities surrounding those golf courses were sold on the basis of ‘fairway views’ or ‘proximity to the course’ of the homes, often with premiums charged for properties directly adjacent to the golf course.
In most cases, the purchasers of those properties were never told the golf course may, someday, be developed into new home sites. ‘Caveat emptor’ has ruled the day in the real estate industry in Horry County for the entire 35 plus years I have lived here.
The new proposed redevelopment plan has been presented to the three affected homeowner associations as much better for them with the threat that the property is already zoned for residential construction and could be developed with single family and duplex homes if the rezoning request is ultimately denied.
This does not appear to be the entire truth, duplex homes are difficult to sell, especially in this market. It appears the rezoning request must be approved for an option to purchase the property from its current owner, IWGC LLC, to be exercised by the prospective developers.
This particular rezoning request is further complicated in that IWGC LLC is one of the corporations that is included in the overall umbrella of the Founders Group International.
GSD has chronicled the checkered history of Founders Group International in many articles in the past. For this article, it can be said the lawsuit between FGI principals Nick Dou and Dan Liu is still in progress and Liu is still a wanted fugitive from his native China with a visa that has apparently expired.
Liu purchased 22 golf courses and other properties in the area with money he stole from Yiqian Funding, a peer to peer financing business in China, according to documents in the Jiangsu Province General District Attorney Office, Jiangsu Province, Peoples Republic of China.
According to a release from that office, an arrest warrant for Liu was issued in March 2017.
Although Liu has claimed in a deposition for the civil lawsuit in the U.S. that the money used to purchase the local properties was from his personal funds, it appears it in fact came from the missing Yiqian Funding money.
Below is a link to a U.S. Department of Justice press release from October 2014 for a case involving the use of stolen funds from a foreign country to purchase property in the U.S., similar in fashion to what Liu has done in Horry County.
It contains the quote, “ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) remains steadfast in its resolve to combat foreign corruption when the spoils of these crimes come to our shores and we are committed to seeking justice and compensation for the often impoverished victims.”
The spoils of Liu’s crimes, for which he is wanted in China, have certainly come to the shores of Horry County. One must question why ICE under the current presidential administration is not vigorously pursuing the Liu properties in Horry County in the same manner the former administration did as the press release states.
At the last deferral of first reading of the rezoning ordinance one month ago, Horry County Council member Tyler Servant, in whose District 5 the property is located, requested the deferral so that council and the citizens could hear directly from Liu, Dou and their attorneys on the lawsuit and other matters.
GSD has learned the Chinese principals and their attorneys never received a formal request to attend tonight’s meeting and will probably not be available to answer any questions from council.
Link to Justice Department release: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/second-vice-president-equatorial-guinea-agrees-relinquish-more-30-million-assets-purchased